Controversial former AFL player Sam Newman has been absolutely savaged for urging Victorians to gather and protest on the streets in a bid to ‘take the city back’.
Protesters opposing the lockdown clashed with police on Sunday in Melbourne during ugly scenes in Australia’s most hard-hit coronavirus city.
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On the back of the protests, Newman made the call to action for up to 250,000 people protest.
Newman, who recently considered running for Lord Mayor of Melbourne, said it was time to ‘take the city back’.
“Of all the protests that we have put up with, how about 1/4 million of us gather in the CBD to take the City/State back, before EVERY previous march will have been pointless,” he wrote.
“And hopefully a State day of co-ordination. Any takers. #StateofSurvival”
Of all the protests that we have put up with, how about 1/4 million of us gather in the CBD to take the City/State back, before EVERY previous march will have been pointless. And hopefully a State day of coordination. Any takers. #StateofSurvival— Sam Newman (@Origsmartassam) August 30, 2020
Sam Newman says he “might” join the anti-lockdown protest planned for this Saturday in Melbourne. pic.twitter.com/T67B8UZmgc— Paul Dowsley (@paul_dowsley) August 31, 2020
But despite some support on social media, Newman was panned for such an “irresponsible” call when Victoria just had a huge surge in deaths from the virus.
“Completely irresponsible from Sam Newman, from someone who was until recenely running for Melbourne mayor,” reporter Edwina Bartholomew said on Sunrise.
“If you want to guarantee you will be in lockdown for another six months, sure join the protest.”
Footy legend Sam Newman is courting controversy after urging Melbourne residents to protest the coronavirus lockdown and "take the city back".— Sunrise (@sunriseon7) August 30, 2020
Latest updates: https://t.co/NkVFH2ldL2 pic.twitter.com/P9m7GePHpS
Others took to Twitter to slam the idea and urged those not to listen and follow the lockdown protocol set in place by Premier Daniel Andrews.
Sam Newman wants to protest stage 4 restrictions. Stage four is a month old already. He’s waited until there’s 13 days to go. Newman’s insatiable appetite for relevance is nauseating and fools no one.— Spidey (@webspinner7) August 31, 2020
Melburnians, don't listen to Sam Newman about ignoring Covid protocols. Not only are you and those you come into contact with more likely to become desperately ill, but the Grand Prix may be cancelled. Again.— Noiresque 🌹 ✊🏽 (@FemmeNoiresque) August 31, 2020
Sam Newman calling for things to happen is not a strong argument for proceeding with those things.— jon “airships” kudelka (@jonkudelka) August 31, 2020
Newman’s call for a protest comes after Victoria suffered a surge in death tolls due to the coronavirus.
Victoria’s coronavirus death toll rises
Victoria’s daily death toll has surged on Monday, with an unprecedented 41 deaths, making it Australia’s deadliest day of the pandemic by far.
The previous highest daily death toll was 25 on August 17.
The Department of Health and Human Services said 22 of the deaths were over several weeks leading up to August 27 and had been reported by aged care facilities on Sunday.
Victoria Premier Andrews said just eight of those deaths were in the previous 24 hours.
“There are Commonwealth reporting obligations, state reporting processes, and we need to reconcile those cases, so that whatever the Victorian Aged Care Response Centre is reporting is absolutely consistent,” Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton explained.
“But it is heartbreaking to see a number of that magnitude, but it is a reflection of just how vulnerable those populations are.”